October 14th, 2017

24th of Tishri 5778


The sin of Adam and Chava

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

“Now the L-rd G-d said, "Behold man has become like one of us, having the ability of knowing good and evil” (Bereishit 3:22)

In the sefer Moreh Nevuchim, the Rambam raises a question that at the time that Adam HaRishon sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, his eyes opened, allowing him to distinguish between good and evil. It would seem that it should be the opposite; because he transgressed the word of Hashem, why was he granted an added ability, as if being rewarded? See there what the Rambam explains.

Adam HaRishon was the handiwork of Hashem. It is brought in the Gemara (Baba Batra 58a) that Adam’s heel shone like the sun; thus Adam HaRishon was obviously a great tzaddik. Then how did he sin? Even more so, at that time Adam had no evil inclination, so how did he sin?

We can explain that Adam was the symbol of blessing, the epitome of perfection, and extraordinarily wise. Rabbi Yehudah Petia, zt”l, wrote in his sefer “Machane Yehudah” (verse 22) that Adam HaRishon was afraid of death. Although death did not exist at that time, with his wisdom he understood what death was and he feared it immensely, but because of his great wisdom he sinned. This is because the angels wanted to say about Adam, “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh,” since they could not distinguish between Hashem and man.

This resolves the question of the Rambam. Adam was rewarded for his pure intentions; for sinning for the sake of Heaven, so that the angels should be able to distinguish between the Shechinah and man. They should know how to differentiate between the Creator and created.

Chazal say that Adam, after eating from the Tree of Knowledge and Hashem had expelled him from Gan Eden, he wanted the world to know that he had not intended to do harm by sinning. It is said about Adam that he was a chassid; in fact, King David was a reincarnation of Adam, and David said (Tehillim 86:2), “Shamrah nafshi ki chassid ani – Watch my soul for I am a pious man.” He implied that I am a chassid because I am a reincarnation of Adam HaRishon. A chassid denotes a very exalted level, since a chassid refers to one who contemplates an hour before praying, etc. We also find that after he sinned, Adam separated from his wife for 130 years. Thus he was on a very high level, and he did this so that Hashem should forgive him for his sin.

An allegorical example of this is: Reuvain gives Shimon money to hold, and then Shimon begins to study Torah, and Reuvain does not want to disrupt Shimon from learning, so he goes over to Shimon and takes out the money from his jacket quietly. To the world this seems like theft, but truly there is no sin in this act. Likewise regarding Adam, he did not sin against Heaven, however, to the world it seemed like a sin, and therefore he was punished by being expelled from Gan Eden. But the question of the Rambam is resolved of why he was rewarded, since truly in the Eyes of Heaven it was not considered a sin, and therefore he could be rewarded. 

Chazal ask (Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshayahu, Remez 508) where was Adam at the time when the Snake seduced his wife to eat? Chazal explain that Adam was strolling with Hashem in Gan Eden. It should be noted that the Tree of Knowledge was also in Gan Eden; then why didn’t Hashem inform Adam to go to his wife and warn her not to eat. This proves that really this was Hashem’s Will, and all this is explained above that in the Eyes of Heaven there was no sin.

Hashem desired that this world should not be like a “hand-out”, meaning that man should not feel as if he was receiving charity. Therefore, Hashem wanted Adam to eat from the Tree of Knowledge so that he should possess an evil inclination, and then there would be reward and punishment. In fact, it is not pleasant to receive charity from others; it is a better feeling to earn one’s salary through his effort.

I also work this way. In the past a wealthy person worked for me, who did not need my money, but nevertheless, I paid him so that he would feel that he was getting paid for his work. So too Hashem wants man to choose good and receive reward for his efforts.

Walking in Their Ways

Standing up to Adversity

Mrs. Maguy Moyal, may she live long, is related to my grandfather, the tzaddik, Rabbi Chaim Pinto, zy”a, through her mother. She is a distinguished person, who devotes her time for the benefit of Klal Yisrael by running the institutions in memory of the tzaddik in Montreal.

When I was receiving people in Montreal, a member of the community asked Mrs. Moyal to arrange a meeting with me. She had a son who was paralyzed and wanted me to bless him. Together with her request, she offered a sum of money for our institutions. She also said that after meeting with me, she would participate in the hilula of the tzaddik, Rabbi Chaim Pinto, zy”a, and donate another respectable sum of money.

On that particular day, I was scheduled to leave Montreal and was extremely exhausted. I curtailed my meetings for the day. The woman was told that I was unable to meet with her. She was very angry and told Mrs. Moyal that in that case, she wanted back her donation. Mrs. Moyal returned her money to her. Nevertheless, she instructed her to fax me a letter with her request for a blessing for her child. She added that, B’ezrat Hashem, she would yet see salvation.

At first, the woman refused to take her advice. She did not think the blessing could take effect in that manner. But after much convincing, she agreed and hurried to write the letter. When it reached me, I blessed the boy with a complete recovery. My secretary added that she would merit seeing miracles. Moreover, he promised that when I would once again visit Canada, I would meet with her and her completely healed son. He also added his apologies that I had not met with her in person. When the woman received my response, she wished to return her donation, but Mrs. Moyal insisted that she give me the money when she would meet me.

Some time passed. I found myself in Canada once again. Who should come to see me but this woman and her son? With a great smile, she handed me an envelope with her donation.

“Honored Rav,” she began, her voice breaking, “the very week that I was notified of your return to Canada, my son was on the floor beside me. Suddenly, I felt something touching my leg. I looked down and was stunned to find my son standing on his own two feet!”

The great merit of the holy one, Rabbi Chaim Pinto, stood by her to bring her salvation. Her triumph over her anger and her desire to donate once again granted her the zechut to be rescued from her distress. Whoever overcomes his character traits is saved from harsh decrees.

Words of Our Sages

When does a person resemble his Creator?

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Bereishit 1:26)

Rabbi Yakov Yisrael Lubchansky, hy”d, zt”l, the Mashgiach of Yeshiva “Ohel Torah” of Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, hy”d, zt”l, asked about this pasuk:

How is it possible to say that Hashem fashioned a person in His image, resembling Him when we know that Hashem has no physical body and is not corporeal and has no comparison?

He explains that Hashem called to man to return in teshuvah and He would forgive him for his transgressions. However, He would not forgive him for sins between man and his fellow, which were not directed at Him – only against his fellow.

Thus, Hashem forgives sins committed between man and G-d, but only man can forgive sins committed between man and his fellow. Ultimately, by forgiving others for their transgressions towards him, he thereby resembles his Creator.

Rabbi David Shreiber, one of the gabbai tzedaka of “Kupat Ha’ir” related that once he approached Rabbi Steinman, shlit”a, for guidelines in arranging an appeal for a purpose that the Rav was familiar with.

Rabbi Steinman approved the appeal and added: There are usual problems, which unfortunately, are heard from time to time. But then there are strange cases, which are terribly dreadful, and it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the tragedy; and I feel that the reason for this is because of hurting one’s fellow.

Rabbi Steinman continued: Just before, there was a fellow who told me about unusual problems that he was experiencing. I asked him, “Did you hurt someone once?” But he said no. I asked him again: “Are you sure you never hurt anyone?”

And again he replied: “No!”

I repeated the question for the third time, and then he remembered: “Yes! I hurt someone once, but I was really right”…

“Of course he was right” – Rabbi Steinman concluded. “We are not talking about hurting someone for no reason at all… but is the ‘right’ person allowed to do anything he wants?”

Everyone understands that a person who kills his fellow because he got him mad is considered a murderer, even though his anger may be justified. This is the way we must relate to hurting others, even when one feels justified.

The Haftarah

The haftarah of the week: “So said God the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the One Who stretched them out” (Yeshayahu 42)

The connection to the parashah: Yeshayahu’s prophecy is reminiscent of the creation of heaven and earth and everything within, as described extensively in Bereishit.

Guard Your Tongue

The prohibition of believing gossip

Just as it is prohibited by the Torah to believe lashon hara, likewise it is prohibited by the Torah to believe gossip, which is also included in lashon hara. This signifies that one may not believe in his heart what his fellow told him, that so and so did such and such to him, or said such and such about him, was true.

One who accepts such gossip transgresses a negative commandment, as it is stated, “You shall not accept a false report.” This is besides other negative commandments that are included in this transgression.


Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

The commandment of honoring one’s father and mother

“And the L-rd G-d formed man of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living soul” (Bereishit 2:7)

Rashi explains that Hashem gathered earth from all over the world to create man, so that wherever man dies, the earth will absorb him, for from there he originated. This means that even before man was created, Hashem knew that man would sin and there would be death in the world as punishment for the sin that man would commit. Therefore, prior to his creation, Hashem fashioned Adam HaRishon in a way that when he would die, the earth would absorb him.

Chazal state (Kiddushin 30b) Our Rabbis taught: There are three partners in man, the Holy One, blessed be He, the father, and the mother. The order of creation is that the father and mother provide him with his organs and bones, and Hashem breathes a soul into him. If not for the Third Partner, which is Hashem, Who breathes a soul into him, all that his parents gave him would be to no avail, and there would be no living child. This is as we see sometimes when a child is born dead, because Hashem did not give him a soul, and consequently what his parents provided is to no avail.

Adam HaRishon did not have three partners in his creation, because he had no father and mother; he was Hashem’s personal creation, without any partner, and therefore he is the chosen creation, whom Hashem chose to be created without any partner, but only by Hashem Himself.

Thus, Adam HaRishon had an added obligation to listen to the Voice of Hashem, since his love for Hashem was three times greater than any person, because Adam HaRishon was not created by three partners, but only Hashem fashioned him by Himself. A person is obligated to honor his father and mother because they are the ones that brought him into the world, and without his parents, he would not be in existence. For this reason he is obligated to respect them.

From this we can infer the depth of the matter of honoring one’s father. We are commanded to honor our parents even after they die, when they are not living in this world, since the father and mother are like partners with Hashem. Even after the parents die, Hashem continues the partnership with the parents, because if Hashem would absolve the partnership, the person would lose his life. If Hashem withdraws His part in the partnership, then the person loses his soul; his life. Since Hashem continues the partnership even after the parents’ death, by keeping the son alive, the son has an obligation to continue honoring them, because although the parents are not alive, they still are partners with Hashem in his existence.

Chazak U’Baruch - Between Man and His Fellow

Unconditional Love / Chapter I

Let us imagine, an ad that is circulated all over the streets of the city inviting every one, you and me and all of us, to take part in building the Beit Hamikdash.

Yes! After almost 2000 years since the destruction of the Beit Elokeinu; since the Shechinah was exiled from the Land; since Yerushalayim stood in its glory; since we merited seeing the Kohanim performing their service and the Levi’im in their song and melody; since the thread turned white – we would be informed that we have an opportunity to return and rebuild the Beit Hamikdash…

Would any of us remain indifferent? Would any of us stand by with folded hands?

Of course not!

All of us would leave all urgent matters, which we are busy with from morning till night, and ascend to Yerushalayim to take part in these lofty moments and build the Beit Hamikdash with our own hands!

No one would complain about the overcrowding; no one would complain about the pushing; no one would have a head-ache or back-ache; no one would feel hungry, thirsty or tired. All of us would join together for the lofty purpose, in absolute awe, with bursting joy!

What if we were asked to make a donation for the building of the Beit Hamikdash? Would we agree?

There is no doubt!!!

Even a poor person would not refrain from taking part in the construction of the Beit Hamikdash! We would all be ready to skip out of our door, sell our homes, run to gemachim, and even beg for money… in order that we too should have a share in the building of the great and holy Beit Hamikdash!

Well, dear brethren, this is the way it really is: The Beit Hamikdash awaits us! Only us!

Nearly 2000 years ago, the Second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. Why was it destroyed? Because there was baseless hatred amongst us! This teaches us that baseless hatred parallels the three cardinal sins of: Avodah Zara (idolatry), Giluy Arayot (immorality), and Shefichat Damim (murder).

The Chafetz Chaim points out that if the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred – could it be built while baseless hatred burns among us? Can the Beit Hamikdash be built when the same reason for its destruction still continues to plague us? Of course not!

The Third Beit Hamikdash, which we hope will be built soon in our days, will not be built over here on earth. We will not be drafted for construction and actively build the building. Nor will we be asked to contribute donations in order to bear the costs of the construction. The Beit Hamikdash will descend from heaven fully built in its entire glorious splendor!

So what do we have to do in order to have a part in the merit of building the Beit Hamikdash? Only one thing; such a simple thing: We must uproot from our midst baseless hatred, which led to its destruction, and replace it with brotherly love that will awaken the Mercy of Heaven and lead to the rebuilding of our Temple.

Can we afford to pass up this tremendous opportunity? Can we remain indifferent when we have a way to end the terrible exile which we are suffering for nearly 2000 years, and have the Shechinah return to our midst?

Of course not!

Food for Thought

The mosquito preceded man

“Let us make man” (1:26)

Chazal say, “Why was man created last in Creation? If he is worthy, he is told that he preceded all of creation. If he is not worthy, he is told that even a mosquito preceded him.”

Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorka, zt”l, explained this with a parable.

There are two types of wagon drivers:

There is one type that Hashem wants to provide him with a livelihood, and therefore sends him a horse and wagon. The other type becomes a wagon driver because Hashem sustains the whole world and wants to take care that the horse should have what to eat, and therefore sends the driver a horse and wagon so that he should take care of all the horse’s needs… 

The two wagon drivers have a similar livelihood, but what a huge difference there is between them! While one – his horse works for him, the other one – labors all his life for his horse…

Thus the Midrash says:

Why was Adam created last in Creation? So that if he would not be worthy, he would be told that a mosquito preceded him in Creation: You were created in order to sustain the mosquito from your blood…”

Men of Faith

Sacrificing for Life

The daughter of the tzaddik Rabbi Chaim Pinto Hagadol, Bébéh, married Rabbi Chaim Ifergan, zt”l, who served as a dayan in his city. They had two children, a son by the name of Meir and a daughter called Taneh (Sultana).

Mrs. Mira Moyal, the daughter of Rabbanit Taneh, who was the granddaughter of Rabbi Chaim Hagadol, testifies that whenever Rabbanit Taneh would leave her house, the entire street would be vacated because of her tremendous holiness. All the men and women feared looking at her face, since it shone as brightly as the radiant sun.

Mrs. Moyal further adds that when she was a young girl, she became sick with a life-threatening illness and was on the brink of death. The doctors predicted that she would undoubtedly die that day.

Rabbanit Taneh quickly set out to the cemetery, in order to pray at the grave of her righteous grandfather, Rabbi Chaim, and beg him to intervene on her daughter Mira’s behalf.

When she arrived at the grave, she encountered all her holy ancestors, who had already perished, greeting her. Suddenly, she spotted her illustrious grandfather, Rabbi Chaim, and he informed her, “Today a decree was issued upon your daughter Mira that she will die.”

Rabbanit Taneh lamented, “This is not possible.” Rabbi Chaim repeated once again, “The decree was already issued, and there is nothing to do.”

Rabbanit Taneh questioned, “Grandfather, is there really nothing left to do?” Rabbi Chaim responded, “Do you have any suggestions?”

“Yes!” answered Rabbanit Taneh. “My daughter has a lot of silver and gold coins saved for her wedding expenses. I ask that all the coins disappear, and in return, she should live and be spared from death.”

Rabbi Chaim agreed to this offer; and so it was. On that very day, all the coins disappeared, and Mrs. Moyal began to recover.

In the evening, the doctor visited the house, expecting to see Mrs. Moyal already deceased, as he had predicted. He was absolutely amazed to see her alive and well, as healthy as before.

When Mira grew up, she married an illustrious Torah scholar, Rabbi Avraham Moyal, who had true fear of Heaven and refrained from all evil.


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